Reuters Africa picked up on a little tidbit from a dubiously scientific survey by HSBC International Bank on the “expatriate experience abroad”: Apparently Germany is the number one country in the world for expats to find “love”, with a quarter (24%) of expats located in Germany marrying a local. Germany also came out as the spot where most expatriates (75%, according to the survey) “learned” the language of the host country.
Now, I say dubiously scientific here because I’ve always been suspicious of this whole “expatriate” idea. Not to mention its cutesy shortened form, “expat”. What makes an expat an expat, rather than an immigrant (or shall we say, to make it equallly cute, an “immy”)? HSBC did not set out to define, among the 2,155 persons they surveyed, what an “expatriate” was other than “an individual who relocates to another country”.
In the meanwhile, it seems that anxiety about “relocating” types in Germany has begun to simmer a bit. There have been rumblings of adding an article to the constitution simply stating that the language of Germany is German.
According to the Independent, this is due to worries about the encroachment of “Denglish” – the English peppered mishmash that has brought Handy, downloaden and babysitten into the language. On the other hand, another motivation for the legal move may be to buffer the inferiority complex that comes with the disparagement of the language by the rest of the world, starting with – to be rather scientific about it – comedienne Tina Fey, who in a recent Vanity Fair article called German “so uncool”.